by Michael Cutler
Yet GOP leaders will still withhold the funds for a wall along the U.S./Mexican border.
On April 9, 2017 The Hill reported that Democrats were winning the fight over the wall.
The Democrats have been adamant about preventing the construction of that wall. Therefore if they are winning then America and Americans are losing.
As this report noted:
Ever since I have spoken out about the issue of immigration and national security, including during my appearances at Congressional hearings and when I provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission, I have been clear that simply building a wall along the U.S./Mexican border would not solve the immigration crisis.Despite President Trump’s request for more than $1 billion to fund the Mexican border wall this year, GOP leaders are expected to exclude the money in the spending bill being prepared to keep the government open beyond April 28.Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says the choice is pragmatic and the money will come later.But the issue has become a political thorn in the side of GOP leaders who are facing pushback from Republicans voicing concerns over the diplomatic fallout, the disruption to local communities and the enormous cost of the project, estimated to be anywhere from $22 billion to $40 billion.With Democrats united against new wall funding, it’s unlikely the Republicans have the votes to get it through and prevent a government shutdown.
However, I have come to compare the wall along that problematic border to the wing on an airplane. Without a wing and airplane certainly would not fly, however, a wing by itself would go nowhere.
In other words, that border must be made secure and other deficiencies in the immigration system must simultaneously be effectively addressed including, of course, the vital issue of the effective enforcement of our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States.
The 9/11 Commission determined that multiple failures of the immigration system enabled not only the terrorists of September 11, 2001 but other terrorists, as well, to enter the United States and embed themselves as they went about their deadly preparations.
We have seen similar patterns in the terror attacks that have been attempted and/or successfully carried out in the United States in the years following the attacks of 9/11.
The preface of the official report, “9/11 and Terrorist Travel - Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States” begins with the following paragraph:
"It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country. Yet prior to September 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy. We believe, for reasons we discuss in the following pages, that it must be made one."
To go from the philosophical perspective to the pragmatism of the real world, on April 12, 2017 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) posted a news release, Foreign national extradited and pleads guilty to human smuggling conspiracy that included these three paragraphs:
Sharafat Ali Khan, 32, a Pakistani citizen and former resident of Brazil, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to smuggle undocumented migrants into the United States for profit before U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton of the District of Columbia. Kahn was extradited to the United States from Qatar on July 13, 2016. Judge Walton scheduled Khan’s sentencing hearing for July 6, 2017.
According to admissions in the plea agreement, between March 2014 and May 2016, Khan and other co-conspirators organized and arranged the unlawful smuggling of large numbers of undocumented migrants to the United States. For their smuggling operation, Khan admitted that he and his co-conspirators used a network of facilitators to transport undocumented migrants from Pakistan and elsewhere through Brazil and Central America and then into the United States by land, air or sea travel. Khan further admitted that he was responsible for managing safe houses for the migrants and arranging a network of associates in other countries to serve as escorts during different legs of the smuggling route. Khan also admitted that voyage included harsh conditions that caused a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death – including lengthy foot hikes with little food and water through the Darien Gap, a dangerous tropical forest area in Panama.
HSI New York investigated this case, with assistance from HSI Brazil, Mexico, Panama and Washington, D.C. field offices, the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI-Miami, the Human Smuggling Cell, the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) in Brazil, the Brazilian Federal Police and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant support with the defendant’s extradition and foreign legal assistance requests. The Justice Department thanks the Government of Qatar for their assistance with the extradition in this case. Senior Trial Attorney Michael Sheckels of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard DiZinno of the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case.
On April 12, 2017 the Washington Times reported about this case in an article, Sharafat Ali Khan smuggled terrorist-linked immigrants, that began this way:
Federal authorities wrangled a guilty plea Wednesday from a Brazilian man who ran one of the Western Hemisphere’s more flagrant alien smuggling operations, sneaking dozens of illegal immigrants from terrorism-connected countries into the U.S. from 2014 to 2016.
Sharafat Ali Khan specialized in smuggling illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh over to the West, where they would be staged in Brazil before being sent north to try to penetrate the U.S.
One of the men Khan helped smuggle into the country was an Afghan who authorities said was involved in a plot to conduct an attack in the U.S. or Canada and had family ties to members of the Taliban.
Neither the ICE news release nor the Washington Times article reported on the fact that the Tri-Border region of Brazil hosts terror training camps.
While there was no mention of that the smuggling operation had an involvement in that dangerous region of Brazil, the fact that the smuggler had resided in Brazil and that he and the illegal aliens he smuggled into the United States are citizens of countries that are associated with terrorism had first landed in Brazil on their way to the United States, certainly raises this disturbing possibility.
To gain a better understanding of the threats posed by this region of Brazil, it is important to read a paper, Islamist Terrorist Threat in the Tri-Border Region that was published by Jeffrey Fields, Research Associate, Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
While some politicians who oppose the construction of the wall seek political “cover” by advocating the use of technology on the U.S./Mexican border, especially drones, in reality drones are costly and all but essentially worthless.
On January 6, 2015 the Washington Post published an article, U.S. surveillance drones largely ineffective along border, report says that was predicated on an audit performed by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security on the use of drones by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Nearly on year later, on November 2, 2016, the New York Times reported, Drones, So Useful in War, May Be Too Costly for Border Duty.
Although it has been said that there is no need to state the obvious, perhaps where the issue of drones is concerned, what should be obvious is not obvious.
Drones cannot make arrests. It would be far more effective and less costly to fly Border Patrol agents in helicopters than to deploy unmanned drones to surveil the border. airborne agents onboard helicopters who spot illegal aliens entering the United States can land and take the illegal aliens into custody.
Additionally, if agents on the ground are attacked, drones can only provide images of the incident so that other agents can head to the location to back up the agents who are under attack.
Border Patrol agents on helicopters can land immediately and come to the aid of their embattled colleagues.
Similarly, sensors may help agents identify the entry of illegal aliens as they enter the United States, but the it will again require Border Patrol agents to have to respond to arrest them.
A secure wall can prevent those illegal entries in the first place.
It must be presumed that politicians who take issue with these points do so because they want to keep that human tsunami of illegal aliens and possibly narcotics, coming across our borders.
It has been said, “Elections have consequences.” We the People need to instruct our elected representatives that the way that they vote on legislation and funding have consequences for them.
Michael Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) whose career spanned some 30 years. He served as an Immigration Inspector, Immigration Adjudications Officer and spent 26 years as an agent who rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. For half of his career he was assigned to the Drug Task Force. He has testified before well over a dozen congressional hearings, provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission as well as state legislative hearings around the United States and at trials where immigration is at issue. He hosts his radio show, “The Michael Cutler Hour,” on Friday evenings on BlogTalk Radio. His personal website is http://michaelcutler.net/.
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